Pope Francis communicates well in today’s digital culture because “what you see is what you get”, the secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture has said.
Bishop Paul Tighe, who was named as secretary of Vatican’s culture department in late October, described the pope as having a communication style that is “very direct and simple” in an interview on 10 December.
Discussing the Church’s digital ministry, Bishop Tighe told the Jesuit Post that the faithful were “blessed” to have a pope who is “rather visual in his style of communication".
He said this worked particularly well in video clips, which captured something of Francis’ spontaneity, good humour, simplicity and his generosity.
“So, one of the things that becomes very clear, is that what people see is what they get," he explained.
“I think it’s a reminder for us all to recover a certain authenticity in terms of digital media, that we’re seen to be people who have a concern for the other," he added.
But, he told the Jesuit publication, he believes Francis would be disappointed if people didn’t look beyond this visual representation of the pope and see “where he’s trying to point people”, which is the Gospel itself.
The 59 year-old Irish prelate explained that Pope Francis has built up over 40 million followers across Twitter accounts in nine different languages and, through Twitter, is reaching out to “people who don’t follow him".
Bishop Tighe also said that the church was engaged in social media because it “exists to communicate.”
“The church has always been engaged. Whatever else we do, we’re here to communicate. We don’t exist for our own name. We exist to communicate, and the message we’re here to communicate is not our own message. It’s the message of Christ, which has been entrusted to us,” he said.